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WASHINGTON â¿¿ Everyone who pays income tax â¿¿ and some who don't â¿¿will feel it. So will doctors who accept Medicare, people who get unemployment aid, defense contractors, air traffic controllers, national park rangers and companies that do research and development. The tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff" take effect in January unless Congress passes a budget deal by then. And no matter who you are, it will be all but impossible to avoid the pain. By Economics Writer Christopher S. Rugaber.

AP Photos


â¿¿ FISCAL CLIFF-WHO'S AFFECTED-GLANCE â¿¿ What is in the $670 billion U.S. fiscal cliff and who would pay how much, at a glance.

â¿¿ OBAMA â¿¿ Obama to meet with labor leaders about impending "fiscal cliff," prospect of raising taxes on the wealthy. AP photo.



WASHINGTON â¿¿ The federal government started the 2013 budget year with a $120 billion deficit in October, an indication that the nation is on a path to its fifth straight $1 trillion-plus annual deficit. A soaring deficit puts added pressure on President Barack Obama and Congress to seek a budget deal in the coming weeks. By Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger.


NEW YORK â¿¿ The number of Americans hitting the road this Thanksgiving is expected to increase slightly from a year ago. But they'll take shorter trips to save on gas and other costs as household budgets remain tight. AAA says Tuesday in its annual Thanksgiving forecast that a stronger economy is needed to spur a bigger jump in holiday travel growth. AAA predicts 43.6 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home over Thanksgiving, up just 0.7 percent from last year. By Travel Industry Writer Samantha Bomkamp.



NEW YORK â¿¿ As airlines make it more difficult for groups of travelers to sit together, many will be separated from their loved ones during flights this Thanksgiving. Here are a few things fliers can do between now and takeoff to snag seats together. By Airlines Writer Scott Mayerowitz.


BEIJING â¿¿ During China's last party congress, the cadres in charge of the world's most populous nation didn't know a hashtag from a hyperlink. But five years on, there's a new message from Beijing: The political transition will be microblogged. While a tool for disseminating propaganda, the Internet is a two-way street that's also being used by ordinary web users to poke fun at and fact-check the delegates. By Alexa Olesen.

AP Photos.



WASHINGTON â¿¿ The Financial Stability Oversight Council, led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, urges the Securities and Exchange Commission to adopt stricter rules for money-market mutual funds. By Business Writer Marcy Gordon.

â¿¿ SMALLBIZ-SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM â¿¿ Small business owners stayed cautious ahead of the election.


U.S. stocks clos lower after uneven trading as fears about the "fiscal cliff" and Greece tip major indexes between gains and losses. A surge in Home Depot's stock prevents a steeper drop for the Dow Jones industrial average. By Business Writer Daniel Wagner.

AP Photo.

â¿¿ OIL PRICES â¿¿ The price of oil is little changed at $85.53 a barrel after making up earlier declines.


RUSHVILLE, Ill. â¿¿ Patients line up early outside his office just off the town square, waiting quietly for the doctor to arrive, as he has done for nearly 60 years. Dr. Russell Dohner is, after all, a man of routine, a steady force to be counted on in uncertain times. Wearing the fedora that has become his trademark, he walks in just before 10 a.m., after rising early to make rounds at the local hospital. There are no appointments. He takes his patients in the order they sign in â¿¿ first come, first-served. His office has no fax machines or computers. Medical records are kept on hand-written index cards, stuffed into row upon row of filing cabinets. The only thing that has changed, really â¿¿ other than the quickness of the doctor's step or the color of his thinning hair â¿¿ is his fee. When Dohner started practicing medicine in Rushville in 1955, he charged the going rate around town for an office visit: $2. Now it is $5. By Martha Irvine.

AP Photos.



HICKSVILLE, N.Y. â¿¿ While most utilities have restored electricity to nearly all their customers, the Long Island Power Authority still has tens of thousands of customers in the dark. The company says Superstorm Sandy was worse than anyone could have imagined. But some say the government-run utility should have seen it coming. It was recently criticized in a withering state report. By Frank Eltman and Michael Virtanen.

AP Photos, Video


ATLANTA â¿¿ Home Depot Inc.'s net income rose slightly in the third-quarter, as glimmers of a housing market recovery and storm-preparation added to sales and offset costs related to closing stores in China. By Retail Writer Mae Anderson.

AP Photo


WASHINGTON â¿¿ More than a decade ago, federal health inspectors wanted to shut down the pharmacy linked to a recent deadly meningitis outbreak until it cleaned up its operations, according to congressional investigators. Nearly 440 people have been sickened by contaminated steroid shots distributed by New England Compounding Center, and more than 32 deaths have been reported since the outbreak began in September, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By Health Writer Matthew Perrone.

AP Photo.

â¿¿ WAL-MART-SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE, HFR â¿¿ Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Wednesday will officially launch a mail subscription service called Goodies that lets shoppers to discover new foods from the comfort of their homes. Eds: Hold for release until 5 a.m. Wednesday.

â¿¿ ONLINE COURSES â¿¿ Nearly 2 million students could be a step closer to getting credit for their work in free, online classes, under an agreement announced Tuesday.

â¿¿ SWITZERLAND-DIAMONDS â¿¿ Christie's auctions off the famed Archduke Joseph Diamond for $21,474,525 including commission, a world auction record price per carat for a colorless diamond. AP Photos.

â¿¿ RUSSIA-GAZPROM â¿¿ Russian gas giant Gazprom moves a step closer in its effort to lay a major pipeline network across Europe by striking a deal with Slovenia, one of the countries the pipe passes through.

â¿¿ GERMANY-LUFTHANSA â¿¿ Arbitrator: Germany's Lufthansa reaches deal with flight attendants, averting the possibility of widespread strikes during the holiday season.



SAN FRANCISCO â¿¿The strife that led to the abrupt departure of the executive in charge of Microsoft's lucrative Windows franchise is the latest sign that CEO Steve Ballmer believes he can rewrite his legacy as he pushes the world's biggest software maker in a new direction. By Michael Liedtke.


NEW YORK â¿¿ When I first turned on Google's new 10-inch tablet, the Nexus 10, I immediately thought of it as a media player â¿¿ and extension of Google's online Play store. The Nexus, which starts shipping Tuesday, appeared on its face to be a good alternative to Apple's general-purpose tablet â¿¿ and with a price tag that's $100 less. After some more thought and time with the tablet, I came to realize that the Nexus 10 works as a general-purpose tablet, too. By Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun.


LOS ANGELES â¿¿ The punishment of Navy SEALs who worked on the video game "Medal of Honor: Warfighter" is the latest in a series of misfires for the interactive medium's popular military shooter genre, which continues to face scrutiny as high-definition graphics become more lifelike and gamemakers attempt to create the most authentic experiences possible. By Derrick J. Lang.

AP Photos.


NEW YORK â¿¿ Cisco Systems Inc. says earnings rose 18 percent in the latest quarter as it gained more solid footing after warning earlier this year of an abrupt slowdown in technology spending. By Technology Writer Peter Svensson.

â¿¿ WASHINGTON POST-PERSONNEL â¿¿ Marcus Brauchli, the executive editor of The Washington Post for the last four years, is stepping down at the end of the year and will be replaced by Marty Baron, editor of The Boston Globe.


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates â¿¿ The United Arab Emirates set stricter Internet monitoring and enforcement codes that include giving authorities wider leeway to crack down on Web activists for offenses such as mocking the country's rulers or calling for demonstrations. The measures are another sign of tougher cyber-policing efforts by Western-backed leaders across the Gulf amid growing concerns over perceived political or security threats since the Arab Spring uprisings. By Brian Murphy.

â¿¿ BELIZE-MCAFEE â¿¿ Police are urging software company founder John McAfee to come in for questioning and help solve the killing of his neighbor on the Caribbean island where they lived, a spokesman said Tuesday.

â¿¿ MICROSOFT-INTERNET EXPLORER â¿¿ The latest version of Microsoft's Web browser is now available to the vast audience connecting to the Internet on personal computers running on the Windows 7 operating system.

â¿¿ JAPAN-OLYMPUS â¿¿ Investors seek $240 million from Japanese camera and medical equipment maker Olympus for losses stemming from a massive accounting scandal.

â¿¿ GERMANY-BERLIN STARTUPS â¿¿ Google is investing $1.3 million in a new facility for Internet startups in the German capital Berlin.

â¿¿ BRITAIN-EARNS-VODAFONE â¿¿ Mobile communications company Vodafone reports a big half-year loss due to charges on its Spanish and Italian operations.

â¿¿ ASSOCIATED PRESS-ICIRCULAR SALE â¿¿ The Associated Press sells iCircular mobile ad service to Wanderful Media.



BRUSSELS â¿¿ Shoring up Europe's banking sector and strengthening oversight of economic policies tops the agenda of a meeting of the European Union's 27 finance ministers. Weakness in the banking sector and inadequate monitoring of national budgets were prime causes of Europe's three-year financial crisis. Fixing those areas is crucial not only to ending the current crisis and preventing a repeat. By Don Melvin and Sarah Dilorenzo.

AP photos.

â¿¿ GREECE-FINANCIAL CRISIS â¿¿ Greece raises $5.2 billion from selling short-term bills, money that will help it make a crucial debt repayment at the end of the week.


TORONTO â¿¿ Canada's Natural Resources minister said a report that says the U.S. will become the world's largest oil producer by the end of the decade should serve as a wakeup call that dramatically illustrates the need for Canada to diversify its energy exports. By Rob Gillies.


HAVANA â¿¿ The only rig in existence that can drill in deep waters off Cuba is preparing to sail away from the island, officials said Tuesday, after the third exploratory well sunk this year proved nonviable in a blow to government hopes of an oil bonanza. By Peter Orsi.


HONG KONG â¿¿ A luxury Hong Kong apartment in a Frank Gehry-designed building has sold for an eye-popping price of nearly $60 million, the latest sign of the city's overheated housing market. By Kelvin Chan.

AP Photos.

â¿¿ LATIN AMERICA-MIDDLE CLASS â¿¿ World Bank: Middle class grows by 50 percent in Latin America, Caribbean region.

â¿¿ GERMANY ECONOMY â¿¿ German investor confidence slips unexpectedly this month on expectations that Europe's largest economy will cool over the next six months.

â¿¿ BRITAIN-INFLATION â¿¿ Inflation in Britain rises more than anticipated in October.

â¿¿ CYPRUS-FINANCIAL CRISIS â¿¿ Cyprus' Central Bank chief looks to December for bailout agreement with potential creditors.

â¿¿ TAIWAN-STOCK SCANDAL â¿¿ Taiwan stock scandal raises questions about state funding "stabilizing" share prices.

â¿¿ GERMANY-EARNS-EON â¿¿ German electricity and gas supplier E.ON cuts its earnings forecast for next year because of economic uncertainties and changes in the energy industry.

â¿¿ IRAN-ECONOMY â¿¿ Iran's parliament postpones second round of subsidy cuts.


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In the bargain bin

Apple stock has taken a beating since the launch of the iPhone 5. In part, the price decline stems from the company's warning that those new products, like the iPad Mini, provide lower profit margins because they're expensive to produce. But that's a short-term effect: Once the production lines have warmed up, the costs will come down.


Home Depot and the housing recovery

Investors cheered Home Depot's quarterly earnings, which were better than expected. The gradually recovering housing market provided a big lift to the home improvement retailer.

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